Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture


Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO

Fr Frank BrennanJesuit priest Fr Frank Brennan is chief executive officer of Catholic Social Services Australia – the Catholic Church's peak body for social services in Australia.

Fr Frank has been a long-time advocate for human rights and social justice in Australia.

His contact and involvement with people who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged began early in his priestly ministry when he worked in the inner Sydney parish of Redfern with priest activist Father Ted Kennedy. In every role he has had since, he has been amplifying the voice of conscience, especially the voice of those who are marginalised.

Frank is an adjunct professor at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. He is also the superior of the Jesuit community at Xavier House in Canberra.

Rev Canon Scott Cowdell

Canon Scott CowdellFr Scott Cowdell is Research Professor at the Charles Sturt University Centre for Public and Contextual Theology (PACT), also Canon Theologian of the Canberra-Goulburn Anglican Diocese. He was Rector of All Saints', Chermside, in Brisbane, Farnham Maynard Lecturer in Theology at Trinity College, Melbourne, Principal of St Barnabas' Theological College, Adelaide and Rector of St Paul's, Manuka, in Canberra. A longstanding Member of the Doctrine Commission and a former Editor of St Mark's Review, he is Founding President of the Australian Girard Seminar.

Prof. Cowdell is the author of seven books exploring the interface between Christianity and contemporary Western culture, and editor of three. His current research project is on the work of today's premier theorist of violence, culture and religion, René Girard. His publications include God's Next Big Thing: Discovering the Future Church; Abiding Faith: Christianity Beyond Certainty, Anxiety, and Violence and René Girard and Secular Modernity: Christ, Culture, and Crisis.

Dr Rosamund Dalziell

Ros DalziellDr Rosamund Dalziell is a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. Ros has a PhD in Literature from the Australian National University, an M.A. in French from Oxford University and a Graduate Diploma in Education from University of Canberra. She was a post-doctoral Research Fellow at the ANU Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, convenor of the ANU National Institute for the Humanities and Visiting Fellow in the School of Humanities/Cultural Inquiry. Ros has taught literature at the ANU, Australian Catholic University and Narrabundah College, and adult migrant English at CIT. At St Mark's National Theological Centre Ros completed courses in theology while working at AusAid and later the Zadok Institute for Christianity and Society. Ros is convenor of the Faith Based Working Group of Canberra Refugee Action Committee. She is an active lay member of the Anglican Diocese of Canberra Goulburn.

Ros is the author of Shameful Autobiographies: Shame in Australian Autobiography and Culture (Melbourne University Press 1999). She has published two edited collections of interdisciplinary essays, Shame and the Modern Self, and Autobiography and Globalisation, and articles and reviews on autobiography, colonial biography, faith and identity. Her current research interests focus on shame, religion and violence in autobiography and fiction. Ros is a member of the Australian Girard Seminar, with recent essays in the series Violence, Desire and the Sacred (Bloomsbury, 2014 & 2015). Her current project is a book on shame, autobiography and the theory of René Girard. Ros's publications can be viewed at

Rev. Dr Jane Foulcher

Jane FoulcherJane Foulcher is Lecturer in Systematic Theology at St Mark's National Theological Centre, a partner in the School of Theology of Charles Sturt University. She is an Anglican priest with experience in urban and regional contexts, and in chaplaincy as well as parish ministry Jane has been an academic associate in the School of Theology since 2007, teaching in systematic and practical theology, as well as in St Mark's formation program for Anglican ordination candidates. Her doctoral research was in the area of monastic theology, and she has a particular interest in the relationship between theology and practice.

Her publications include Reclaiming Humility: Four Studies in the Monastic Tradition; "Hildegard meets Moltmann: The Shape of Hope in the Book of Divine Works" in The Greening of Hope: Hildegard for Today (forthcoming 2015); "Ageing, Humility, and the Monastery" in Journal of Religion, Spirituality & Aging 26; "Sharing the Poetry of Grace: The Theologian as Preacher" in Embracing Grace: Essays in Honour of Graeme Garrett; and "Hand Dances and Waltzes: Reclaiming Common Worship for the Twenty-First Century" in Wonderful and Confessedly Strange. Australian Essays in Anglican Ecclesiology.

Dr Michael Gladwin

Michael GladwinMichael Gladwin is Lecturer in History at St Mark's National Theological Centre in the School of Theology, Charles Sturt University, Canberra. A graduate of the Australian National University and the University of Cambridge, his research interests include the religious and cultural history of Australia and the British Empire, with a particular interest in the relationship between religion and war in Australian history. Michael is the author of Captains of the soul: a history of Australian Army chaplains (2013) and Anglican clergy in Australia, 1788–1850: building a British World (2015). He is currently editor of St Mark's Review. His current research projects include an edited monograph on the history of preaching in Australia, a chapter on the intellectual history of mission and colonialism during the long nineteenth century for the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of nineteenth century Christian thought, and the place of religion in Australian war commemoration since 1914.

The Revd Dr Peter C Grundy

Peter Grundy is an Anglican priest.  He is also a philosopher.

His research interests centre on non-cognitivist readings of the Christian religion by both philosophers and theologians, but especially those influenced by the eminent Cambridge philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.  He is also concentrating on aspects of the formal (logical and theistic) problem of evil.  And he is interested in systematic theological grounds (including extra-scriptural grounds) supporting seminal Christian doctrines such as atonement. While not a biblical theologian, Peter takes an intense interest in problems addressed by textual criticism, particularly of the Gospels.

Peter’s background in philosophy includes teaching at Macquarie University and the Australian National University (ANU), which awarded his doctorate.  He also argues his convictions before academic conference audiences, at seminars and in public debates.  He taught theology at Charles Sturt University over a period of seven years. And he comes from the ANU, having been, most recently, a Visiting Fellow there.  At ACCC, he is a Senior Research Fellow.

Toni Hassan

Toni HassanToni Hassan is a Walkley Award-winning journalist. She has been an adviser in federal politics and with the ACT Human Rights Commission in the area of children and young people's advocacy. She also brings to the role extensive experience in the not-for-profit sector.

Toni writes a regular column for The Canberra Times exploring her interconnected interests of community development, reconciliation, faith, participatory democracy and visual art.

She is the winner of a Human Rights award for excellence in journalism.

Wayne Hudson

Wayne Hudson Wayne Hudson is Research Professor at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture in Canberra. He is an intellectual historian and a social philosopher who works across the areas of philosophy, history, politics and religion. His research covers religious thought, utopianism and social reform, the Enlightenment and the postsecular. He is recognised as the English language expert on the Jewish German Philosopher Ernst Bloch and is also a leading historian of English deism. He wrote his D. Phil. at Oxford, under the supervision of the Polish philosopher Leszek Kołakowski and the American intellectual historian Martin Jay. Subsequently he was elected a Junior Research Fellow in Philosophy and delivered the first lectures on postmodernism at Oxford. He also taught philosophical anthropology for seven years at the University of Utrecht.

Wayne's first monograph The Marxist Philosophy of Ernst Bloch (1982), still the definitive work in English, showed that Bloch was a process philosopher like Bergson and Whitehead. Building on his work on Bloch, he then engaged with central problems in religious and social thought, especially the relationship between secularity and Enlightenment in some twenty books and more than eighty articles and book chapters. He has taken a special interest in questions about civil society, republicanism and citizenship.

Three recent books, The English Deists: Studies in Early Enlightenment (2009), Enlightenment and Modernity: The English Deists and Reform (2009) and an edited collection, Atheism and Deism Revalued (2014), throw new light on the emergence of deism and atheism. A further monograph, Australian Religious Thought, to be published by Monash Publishing in 2016, shows that religious thought in Australia has been much more significant than historians have recognised, and that religiously inflected Enlightenment has played a significant part in Australian history. He is currently writing a monograph on postsecular Enlightenment.

Trained initially in law, Professor Hudson is interested in questions about civil society, republicanism and citizenship. He has also worked on multi-faith dialogue. Among his many edited books are Islam Beyond Conflict with Azyumardi Azra, Civil Society in Asia with David Schak, Rethinking Australian Citizenship with John Kane, Australian Republicanism with Mark McKenna, and Creating Australia with Geoffrey Bolton.

Dr Douglas Hynd

Dr Douglas HyndDouglas Hynd is Adjunct Research Fellow of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. He has recently completed a PhD at the Australian Catholic University on the impact on church-related welfare agencies of contracting with government.

He has worked in the Australian Public Service on social policy, community programs and indigenous affairs, and has taught as a sessional lecturer at St Mark's National Theological Centre in Christian Ethics, and Australian Church and Society. He has research interests in the role of Christian churches and their agencies in social policy, the engagement of theology with politics, political theory and anthropology and the significance of Anabaptism and the peace witness for Christian presence and engagement in a post-secular society.

He has been actively involved in refugee issues through Canberra Refugee Support and Love Makes a Way.

Dr Christine Ledger

Christine LedgerDr Christine Ledger studied science at the Australian National University in Canberra and her postgraduate studies branched into the field of science, technology and society studies at Murdoch University (BSc (Hons)), and the University of New South Wales (Master of Science and Society). In 2004 she was awarded a PhD from Charles Sturt University, studying at St Mark's Theological Centre in Canberra. Her thesis discussed themes of technological culture, human creativity and community.

Much of Christine's working life has been with ecumenical organisations, including the Australian Council of Churches, the Commission for Christian World Service and the Christian Conference of Asia, based in Hong Kong. As an academic associate, she has taught courses related to science and religion, ecotheology and God and creation. Christine is currently writing about the life of Vernon Cornish who died young when he was Anglican Bishop-elect of Tasmania.

Dr Brendan Long

Dr Brendan LongBrendan Long is a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. He is an economist with over two decades of experience in key government agencies (Treasury, Productivity Commission, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Office of National Assessments) and has held leadership policy roles in national peak organisations in the private and not-for-profit sectors (including Catholic Social Services Australia and National Disability Services).

He has also been a senior political adviser for six years to Federal politicians including Simon Crean, Joel Fitzgibbon, Joseph Ludwig and Stephen Conroy.

He holds a BEc from the ANU, a M.Litt from the ANU and a PhD from the University of Cambridge and has published work on the religious aspects of Adam Smith's thought in leading international journals. He is a member of the Australian Catholic Theological Association.

Dr Long is working for the Centre on public theology and social policy applying Christian theology to social and economic policy issues as part of the Civil Society research program of the Centre. His latest project is a report on Welfare Reform for people disability and he is writing a piece for the St Mark's review on the social and ethical implications of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Graeme McLean

Graeme McLeanGraeme McLean is a Senior Lecturer and the Philosophy Co-ordinator in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. Originally from Melbourne, he studied at Monash (BA (Hons) and MA) and Oxford (BPhil and DPhil). He has had short teaching stints at Monash and Melbourne universities and at Regent College, Vancouver. From 1990 to 2004 he was a member of the Philosophy Department of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He joined CSU in 2005. His main philosophical interests are in the theory of knowledge, applied ethics, and philosophy of religion. He is especially interested in how philosophy can assist Christian apologetics and ethics.

Some recent relevant research includes 'Critical Review Article: Ethics and AIDS in Africa: The Challenge to Our Thinking', Developing World Bioethics, Vol. 7, No. 3, Dec. 2007; 'Theology and Philosophy: Friends or Foes in the University?', St Mark's Review, No. 210, Dec. 2009; 'The Imagination of Our Hearts', St Mark's Review, No. 221, Sept. 2012; 'The Futility of Our Minds', St Mark's Review, No. 227, Feb. 2014; and, 'Antipathy to God', Sophia, Vol. 54, No. 1, April 2015.

Dr Jeanette Mathews

Jeanette MathewsJeanette Mathews is the Course Advisor for the Bachelor of Theology and a lecturer in Old Testament and Biblical Languages in the School of Theology, based at St Mark's in Canberra. She is an ordained Baptist minister and worked in Baptist churches in Victoria and the ACT from 1991 - 2007. Her research focus is Biblical Performance Criticism. This approach to Biblical Studies is committed to upholding, transmitting and improvising the biblical traditions in all their wondrous diversity for new settings in our own times and places, and is reflected in her publication Performing Habakkuk: Faithful re-enactment in the midst of crisis (Pickwick Publications, 2012) as well as several other articles and book chapters on performance criticism, prophetic literature and lament. Jeanette is passionate about educating others in biblical studies and recently edited God, by degrees: A practical guide for new theological students (Barton Books, 2014). She has recently prepared a performance-sensitive translation and discussion of the book of Jonah, and is currently working on a contribution for a publication entitled "Ecological Aspects of War".

Dr Natalie Mobini

Dr Natalie Mobini is an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture.

Dr Mobini has been an active contributor to inter-faith dialogue at the national level in Australia for almost 20 years. She represents the Australian Bahá'í Community on the Australian Partnership of Religious Organisations (APRO), and she convenes the Canberra chapter of the Women’s Interfaith Network (WIN). She was a member of the Australian delegation to the Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue held in Yogyakarta in October 2016 under the auspices of MIKTA. Dr Mobini has written and spoken on the need to broaden and deepen dialogue at a wide range of conferences and other events. Her paper “Encountering the Other “Other”: A Bahá’í Perspective” appears in the publication Interfaith Dialogue: Global Perspectives (Palgrave, 2016).
Dr Mobini is the Director of the Office of External Affairs for the Australian Bahá’í Community. In this capacity she represents the Bahá’í community in its dealings with the Australian government, and in its work with other community organisations to promote peace, human rights, the equality of women and men, and inter-religious understanding. She holds a doctorate in Indonesian history and is the author of several published papers and a monograph in this field.

Professor Satendra Nandan

Satendra NandanSatendra Nandan is an Adjunct Research Professor at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture.

Born in Fiji, Satendra Nandan studied  in India, England and Australia. He joined the University of the South Pacific in 1969.He completed his PhD in English at the Australian National University.

He was elected to Fiji Parliament in 1982 and again in 1987 when he became a minister in the  Dr Bavadra's cabinet until  the first Fijian coup  on 14 May 1987.

In December 1987, he came to the Humanities Research Centre, ANU, as a Visiting Fellow and subsequently joined the University of Canberra. In 2005 he resigned from the University of Canberra and returned to Fiji with his wife Dr Jyoti Nandan (ANU) to help establish the University of Fiji for the poor.

The University of Canberra  made him an Emeritus Professor for his distinguished service as a professor, creative writer and  the elected international Chair of the Association of Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (ACLALS) among other multicultural contributions to the wider community.

An award-winning writer, Satendra has authored and edited 20 books on Culture and Literature .

In 2013 Satendra helped draft Fiji's new democratic constitution for democratic elections. Canberra is now Satendra and Jyoti's home with their three children and four grandchildren.

A/Prof. David Neville

David NevilleDavid Neville lectures in New Testament studies in the School of Theology of Charles Sturt University at its Canberra campus, St Mark's National Theological Centre. His research originally focused on the synoptic gospels, and he is the author of two books on the synoptic problem. More recently he has been working in the area of New Testament theology and ethics. He has also written studies on the relation between the Bible and public theology.

His publications include Arguments from Order in Synoptic Source Criticism: A History and Critique, Mark's Gospel—Prior or Posterior? A Reappraisal of the Phenomenon of Order, A Peaceable Hope: Contesting Violent Eschatology in New Testament Narratives and the forthcoming The Vehement Jesus: Grappling with Troubling Gospel Texts.

Prof. Paul Oslington

Paul OslingtonProfessor Paul Oslington is an Adjunct Research Professor at Charles Sturt University's Centre for Public and Contextual Theology (PACT). Since 2013 he has also held the position of Professor of Economics and Dean of Business at Alphacrucis College, Sydney. From 2008-2013 he had a unique joint appointment as Professor in the Faculties of Business and Theology at Australian Catholic University, where he remains an Adjunct Professor. He was previously Associate Professor of Economics at University of New South Wales, and held visiting appointments at University of Oxford, University of British Columbia, and Princeton Theological Seminary and University. He is Vice-President of the Economic Society (NSW Branch).

His publications include the books The Theory of International Trade and Unemployment, Economics and Religion,Adam Smith as Theologian and the Oxford Handbook of Christianity and Economics as well as articles in Economic Record, Australian Economic Papers, Australian Journal of Labour Economics, Economics Letters, World Economy, Review of International Economics, History of Economics Review, History of Political Economy, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, European  Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Journal of Business Ethics and Theological Studies. His research has been supported by large grants from the Australian Research Council and philanthropic foundations.

Prof. John Painter

John PainterJohn Painter was educated in NSW country where tennis, cricket and athletics became the most important school activities and remained formative life influences, along with the love of mountains and sea, boats, canoes and kayaks. He studied theology in Sydney, London and Durham (UK). A lover of music from Monteverdi to Philip Glass, Peter Sculthorpe and Ross Edwards, John tries to live, breathe, and work in the context of music.

Prof. Painter's teaching and research interests are Early Christianity and Early Judaism; God-talk in the Early Church; Hermeneutics and contextual theology; and, the New Testament and contextual theology. His current research is focused in three projects: The role of a biblical creation theology in the face of the threat posed by the human destruction of the natural world and the accelerating rate of the extinction of species; The promise and problematic nature of the Gospel of John for a constructive Christian Theology in the Twenty First Century; and, The role of James the brother of Jesus in the Earliest Church as a model of Christian leadership.

Clive Pearson

Clive PearsonClive Pearson is currently an academic Research Fellow at Charles Sturt University's Centre for Public and Contextual Theology (PACT). He was one of the founding members of both PACT and the Global Network of Public Theology. He was formerly Principal of United Theological College, Sydney and Head of School for the School of Theology, Charles Sturt University. He holds his present position in association with its being a ministerial placement of the Assembly, the Uniting Church in Australia. His present research interests are focused on the intersection of theology and climate change and Christian theology of "other" faiths with special reference to Islam. He has an abiding interest in diasporic and cross-cultural theologies. It is his intention to work on how the core beliefs of a systematic theology are 'heard' and 'received' in a public which is multifaith, multicultural, secular and suspicious of the Christian faith.

Prof. Bruce A. Stevens

Bruce StevensProfessor Bruce A. Stevens holds the Wicking Chair of Ageing and Practical Theology at Charles Sturt University and is the director of the Centre of Ageing and Pastoral Studies. He was previously Associate Professor in clinical psychology at the University of Canberra where he convened the program with more than 60 graduate students from 2009-2014. He is an endorsed Clinical and Forensic Psychologist with a part-time private practice at Canberra Clinical and Forensic Psychology, a practice he founded in the early 1990s. He has been chair of the Canberra section of the Clinical College of the Australian Psychological Society. He gives many professional workshops on couple therapy throughout Australia. He has is a trainer in Schema Therapy with both individual and couple accreditation with the ISST. He has written six books with the most recent Schema therapy for couples: Healing relationships, in press with Wiley, with international authors Dr Chiara DiFrancesco (USA) and Dr Eckhard Roediger (Germany).

Prof. David Tacey

David TaceyDavid Tacey is Emeritus Professor of Humanities at La Trobe University, Melbourne, and Research Professor at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Canberra. He is an interdisciplinary scholar and public intellectual who has written extensively on spirituality, religion, youth experience and mental health. He is the author of two hundred articles and chapters, and fourteen books, including Edge of the Sacred; Re-Enchantment: The New Australian Spirituality; and The Spirituality Revolution. His most recent book is Beyond Literal Belief: Religion as Metaphor.

David grew up in central Australia alongside Aboriginal cultures, and has a life-long interest in indigenous issues. He has written on Aboriginal spirituality and on the suicide epidemic in Aboriginal cultures in Gods and Diseases. He studied literature, art history and philosophy at Flinders University and completed a PhD in literature and psychoanalysis at the University of Adelaide. He undertook post-doctoral studies in the United States on a Harkness Fellowship. His books have been published internationally, and some have been translated into Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese and French.

Rev. Dr Ray Williamson OAM

Ray WilliamsonThe Reverend Dr Ray Williamson is an Anglican priest, a graduate of Sydney and Newcastle universities and of St John's Theological College, Morpeth, and ordained in Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle. He has been a theological teacher throughout his ordained ministry as well as serving in several parishes in Newcastle, Sydney and Canberra. He was the General Secretary of the NSW Ecumenical Council for twenty-one years, during which time he also acted as the secretary to two national ecumenical commissions. His PhD thesis An Introduction to Hegel's Philosophy of Religion was published in 1984; he has edited two volumes of documents from the bilateral dialogues between churches in Australia (Stages on the Way, 1994; and Stages on the Way II, 2007); and his history of councils of churches in Australia, Pilgrims of Hope: An Ecumenical Journey 1980-2010, was published in 2014. He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2008 for his ecumenical work. In 1997, he was the co-founder of the Centre for Ecumenical Studies, and within the ACC&C he continues to serve as the Director of that Centre. He is married to the Reverend Dr Erica Mathieson, and has two daughters and two grandsons.